Listening well – experiencing grace

By Dave Henning / February 19, 2023

“Listening well is a refusal to allow self-righteousness to distort our interactions.  It’s a willingness to open ourselves up to blind spots, knowing that we stand in need of grace every single day. . . .  Experiencing grace requires our walls to come down.”- Rich Villodas

Rich Villodas concludes Chapter 7 of Good and Beautiful and Kind with the third and fourth lessons learned from Peter and Paul’s conflict.

3.  Healthy conflict requires careful listening.  To develop into one who listens well with an open heart, internalize the love of God.  Certainly, we’re all prone to make mistakes.  But the ability to listen in a non-defensive manner serves as the hallmark of someone who is growing in love.

However, defensive ness often indicates a subtle but blatant rejection of one’s humanity.  Consequently, that also includes a rejection of God’s grace.

In addition, Rich underscores, recognize that a refusal to listen points to a much deeper issue.  Also, people don’t normally resist listening because they enjoy being combative.  Instead, they fail to live from a deeper center of loving union with God.  And knowing this helps you relate to them with more compassion.

4.  Healthy conflict requires the table.  In conclusion, Pastor Villodas stresses, these essential skills and practices fail us unless we immerse ourselves in the life of God.  And the Christian finds this reservoir prominently available in the Lord’s Supper.

Above all, Pastor Villodas sees receiving Holy Communion as foundational for the fractures in our lives.  Paradoxically, then, the broken and fractured body of Jesus = the ground of all wholeness.

Finally, Rich exhorts:

“Our conflicts are normal.  our disagreements are real.  But so is the grace of God. . . .  Wounds have a way of tearing us apart, from the levels of our families to the rifts that grow between nations.  But are we doomed to merely suffer the fallout and agony of this conflict?  Praise God, no.  Christ has led us to a better way.”

Today’s question: What Scriptures help you develop the skill of listening well?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the February Short Meditation – “Weary traveler, restless soul”

About the author

Dave Henning

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